By Mona Lott
1. Stand and Stare: You’ve got one! Your very own close-talker. This one will talk until he runs out of breath, keels over and a dies. The wall of irrelevant nonsense that’s coming at you will likely send you in a semi-trance. Stare right into his eyes, smile and nod your head occasionally. Prepare to be there for what will feel like years.
2. Be Sassy: Take that sassy-straight-talking-stage-personae with you everywhere you go. As soon as you enter the venue, YOU are the star. Leave humility at the door. Normal people will think you’re full of yourself, but the Superfans will eat that shit up.
3. Singing to Strangers: Remember that old performance tip? “Pick one person in the audience to sing to, it’ll make their night!” By ALL means, pick the lonely guy who’s leaning over his beer in order to be closer to you and mouthing all the lyrics to your songs.
4. Schmirting: Every musician knows there is a fine line between schmoozing and flirting. One minute you’re thanking them graciously for buying your CD and the next minute they’re leaning in for the kiss. Wear a low cut shirt and lean over the table while signing CDs.
5. Shit-talking: Maybe the sound guy was an idiot tonight. Maybe you really should’ve gone second in that double-bill show. Your Superfan will be the first to let you know. Engaging in self-aggrandizing shit-talking about the venue, the promoters, the staff, etc will lure your Superfan into thinking you trust them. Just make sure they don’t take it upon themselves to let the venue know that the show wasn’t up to your usual high standards.
TIPS* All facetiousness aside, this article is meant to be a cautionary tale. So here are some tips to avoid stalker provocation:
Drive-by-Talking: Master the art of having a quick “Hello, how are you?” moment with people as you’re walking by them. If you stop, you’re likely to get lulled into a conversation and you won’t be able to get out. If you keep walking while smiling it shows them that although their thoughts are important to you, you are busy being busy-and-important right now.
Emergency-Rip-Chord: If you do get lulled into an endless conversation, have a back-up excuse in mind. If you’re like me, you’re completely scatter-brained and tend to forget things. Use this to your advantage by coming up with a perfectly legitimate emergency excuse why you have to leave and go do something right now. Something like, “Oh my god, I forgot to write out the set list!”, or “I forgot to pay the drummer!”. Even if it’s, “Holy shit, I really have to pee!” whatever it takes to make a quick get-away.
Rescue-Me-Signal: If you’re uncomfortable lying to people yourself, get your band in on it. Ask your bass player to keep an eye out for you scratching your head or fixing your glasses while schmoozing. This is the signal for him to come get you so you can, “Do some biz”.